Thursday, April 8, 2010

An Early Mother's Day

This morning I am giving a program for my PEO chapter. They request that I do a program using my writing in some way. A nice compliment, to be sure, and much appreciated by me. Since Mother's Day is only a few weeks away, I decided to use that as my theme and am calling the program "Mothers and Their Mothers."
She is nineteen in the picture at the left.

Loosely translated, that means I'll be reading stories about both my mother and her mother, my grandmother. When I started to go through my files to select which stories I'd read today, I found that there were far more about my mom than I'd thought. In my family stories, she seems to win the prize for being the star in so many of them. No doubt, there's a reason for that.

One story is quite short and details an experience I had close to Mother's Day two years after my mother passed away. It was published in a Chicken Soup for the Soul:  A Tribute To Moms book. I read the story on a TV show that same year, and the next day a woman from another town called me. She said her mother had passed away earlier in the year, and she'd been dreading Mother's Day until she heard my story. "Now," she said, "I think I can face it." The story is reprinted below for you to read.

With Us In Spirit

I stopped at a Hallmark shop the other day to buy Mother’s Day cards for my daughter and daughter-in-law. The aisle where the cards for this special day rested was a long one. There were Mother’s Day cards appropriate to send to everyone from your cleaning lady to your best friend. The colors were soft and spring-like, fitting for the month of May. I moved up and down the aisle looking for cards that worked for Karen and Amy, and suddenly without any warning, an ache started deep inside. It swelled and moved upward, hit my heart and pushed a tear from my eye.

The one card I really wanted to buy was one for my own mother, but she passed away more than two years ago. I could buy the card, write a special note, sign it with love, then seal and stamp it. But where would I send it? Heaven has no post office. A curtain of sadness dropped down and covered me like a shroud for a moment or two. My hand reached out to a card that I knew she’d love. It was lavender and purple, her favorite colors. I read the verse and smiled. This was the one I’d buy her if I could only send it to her. I slipped it back in the rack, picked it up and read it again, then replaced it.

I’m a mother and a grandmother of four, but I still miss my mom. I miss our long talks. She had little formal education, but she possessed a marvelous instinct and insight into human behavior. I learned so much listening to her observations. I miss the stories she told about her childhood in a coal mining town. She made me appreciate the differences in people’s lives. I miss the wonderful pies and cakes she made. I miss her terrific sense of humor and hearty laughter. I miss her hugs.

But as I look around my home, I see her in many places. I see her warm smile in photos carefully arranged in several different rooms. I see her every time I sift through my recipe box and finger the many cards with her handwriting, all so precious now. I see her when I use my rolling pin, once hers, now mine. Whenever I use it, I’m reminded of the day she taught me how to put just the right pressure on a pie crust with the heavy wooden rolling pin. I see her when I show visitors to our guest room, for the bed is covered with a quilt she made by hand.

On Mother’s Day I will be with my daughter and her family at a Mother’s Day Brunch. To spend the day with a child I love and her husband and children will give me great pleasure. It wouldn’t surprise me if we sense another presence that day, for my mother will be with us in spirit, spreading her love once more.


  1. This is a story worth reading over and over again. Perhaps it's because I can understand the feelings so well.

  2. Having just lost my Mom this month, I really feel a connection with your story about your Mom. I am grateful to you for sharing this warm and insightful piece.

  3. Norma--I'm glad you found something that helped in this story. Touching the lives of others is one of the reasons I write.